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Tenerife herbs: Aloe vera is a succulent plant with medicinal properties

Updated on October 8, 2013

Aloe Vera grows in Tenerife

Aloe Vera is well known as an ingredient of many products on sale these days, products ranging from skin creams to soaps and shampoos. Its healing and medicinal properties have made it a very popular succulent plant that is often grown as a pot plant and in gardens in countries where it is warm enough.

Aloe Vera is commonly seen all over Tenerife and the Canary Islands where its rosettes of grey-green succulent leaves make large clumps and in the flowering season they carry flower spikes high above that are covered in pretty yellow flowers.

Aloe Vera photo

Aloe Vera flowers
Aloe Vera flowers

Aloe Vera described

Aloe Vera produces large rosettes of succulent spiky leaves that are generally a greenish-grey or a blue-greenish colour but can also get tinged with reddish-pink in very dry and hot conditions. The leaves grow to about 2 ft in length and have toothed edges.

From the centre of the rosette flowering spikes grow and reach about 1 metre in height. They are covered in bright yellow tubular flowers but very seldom set seed because most of the plants are clones and cannot self pollinate with others they are so closely related to.

The plants reproduce by producing very many daughter plants around each rosette and as these enlarge very big clumps of Aloe Vera can be produced.

The plant is grown commercially in fields and also in flower borders in parks, gardens, public places and along roads. It is often found naturalised in the countryside and waste ground too.

The origins of the Aloe Vera are uncertain because the plant has been in use throughout all recorded history and has been spread around the world in subtropical and tropical areas.

It is known that the plant was used by the Ancient Egyptians who employed it as an embalming ingredient. It was introduced into Europe back in the 10th Century.

In Spanish Aloe Vera is known as "Pita Sábila". In English its alternative names are Cape Aloe and Aloes.

All about Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera leaves

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera medicinal properties

Aloe Vera leaves are cut so that the sap can be extracted. This sap is used fresh, preserved, bottled or dried into a crystalline solid preparation. It is used in the making of gels, sunscreens, creams, shampoos, soaps, lotions and many other products, both cosmetic and medicinal.

Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. A gel made from Aloe Vera is used to treat sunburn, burns in general, wounds and skin conditions such as eczema.

Taken internally it is good for digestive problems and is a laxative. It is also believed to be a good tonic for the health of the body's immune system. Aloe Vera is believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties too

However, Aloe Vera should not be taken by pregnant women or in larger than recommended doses.

Aloe Vera is certainly a very popular and useful herb.

© 2011 Steve Andrews

Comments

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    • Tenerife Islander profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Tenerife

      Thank you for your comments, Fay and Eiddwen!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      7 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and thank you for sharing.

      I now look forward to reading much more of your work also and I vote up.

      Take care

      Eiddwen.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Nice hub. I wouldn't be caught without my aloe vera.

      up/useful

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